This art exhibit allows strangers to do what?

Answer: Take control of other peoples’ smart homes.

by / February 12, 2019
Shutterstock/Creativa Images

Lauren McCarthy’s SOMEONE, on display for seven weeks in New York City, examines the security and privacy (or lack thereof, depending on how you want to look at it) of technology in today’s society. A series of laptops set up in a gallery at 205 Hudson Street are connected to an array of smart devices inside four homes, three in Brooklyn and one in San Francisco.

For two hours a day, visitors can use the laptops to control any smart device within the homes. They can play music, turn the lights on or off, and even interact with the inhabitants via text-to-speech technology, much like an Alexa device. During the two hours when the homes are “live,” the inhabitants will have to use the wake word “Someone” instead of their normal phrase in order make a request of their voice assistants.

SOMEONE is part of a larger exhibition called Refiguring the Future, put on by REFRESH, Eyebeam and the Hunter College Art Galleries. The exhibition only features works by tech-focused artists who are female-identifying, gender non-conforming, queer, or people of color.